This is third part of Wednesday chain post with a subject Vinny wants me to write. Vinny asked me this question Do you think that the gap between children and parents’ age will really affect the communication between both?
My answer is yes and no.
Why is the generation gap there? Firstly it is the age difference. Parents are born in a time with different things like other values and customs than their children. Ok, some values are universal they hardly change in decades. However some customs do. A simple example is in a relationship. Older parents, in this case the fathers would insist that boys pay everything for their girlfriends, like they did. But the custom has changed. More and more girls work and have a decent income. So it becomes normal to share the check after dinner. Perhaps this is a silly example but this is the one I came up with for now.
Adults kids explore the world but they stay their parents’ children. Parents will keep acting like parents because they think they need to. Life phase changes the situation; marriage, children become parents etc. Parents have this ‘been there done that’ attitude towards their children’s life phase. Relationship problems? Hey, I chose to marry your mum. A father says. Career dilemma? Follow your guts like a did, a mother gives this advice to her son.
What to do?
What I did with my own parents and what I am doing now with my daughter is searching for common ground for a deeper understanding. Understanding is the bridge to overcome the gap. With my parents it was through music and movies. When I got older, art came by. With my daughter is not that different. By watching movies together we discuss about many things. I do some effort to understand her world though. Even that this means to tolerate her listening to Ariana Grande for the tenth times early in the morning, I try to keep my patience :-). My parents were cool when they found out I smoked. My mum hated it but she let me. My dad understood the youngster spirit of me, trying something new and most of all trying something taboo parents would forbid. He reacted by saying; ok, I was young once. But do not expect you can ask us more allowance if your money is spent on cigarettes.
I am in the verge of a journey called being a parent of a teen, the most turbulent period for both the teen and the parent. So in my humble opinion based on my experience, parents and children need to try to understand each other better by communicating. Let them know what the expectations and limitations are. For the children; Share your dreams with your parents. For the parents; do not forget, once you were young too. Accept that your children grow as an individual adult. Love them by setting them free. They will learn from their own mistakes. And if you did it right, they will come back to you one day for parental advice because parents are a safe have for their children no matter how old they are.
Since my daughter is born in 2001, these are things her dad and I need to reckon with in order to avoid the generation gap.
Infographic is courtesy of Mark McCrindle